Probate FAQs

First Steps and Getting Started

My loved one just passed away, and I don’t even know where to start. What should I do?

The first thing you should do is understand that it’s okay to take time to grieve with your family. The probate process in Nevada cannot begin until 30 days after death, so there’s nothing you can do right now anyway. Here’s an article with more information about what to do after a loved one has passed away.

What should I do if I’m named as executor of an estate?

This is a common question. As executor of an estate, you’re going to be the person responsible for initiating a probate proceeding (if required), as well as gathering and distributing your loved one’s property. Here’s more information about serving as executor of an estate.

What are the first steps of the probate process?

The probate process generally begins with filing a petition in the probate court where the decedent lived (or owned real property). However, before filing the petition, there are a few steps that should be taken:

  • Locate the Will: If the decedent had a will, you’ll need to locate the original and lodge it with the probate court.
  • Gather and Safeguard Assets: Make appropriate arrangements to secure the decedent’s residence, vehicles, and other property. Do not let anyone remove items of clothing, jewelry, personal documents, or other property from the decedent’s residence.
  • Notify Financial Institutions: To protect against fraud, notify the decedent’s bank, credit card company, and other financial institutions that he or she has passed away.
  • Collect or Forward Mail: Collecting the decedent’s mail helps to prevent potential identity theft from third parties who might have access to his or her mailbox. It can also help you identify the decedent’s assets and debts as account statements and bills arrive by mail.
  • Order Death Certificates: Death certificates typically take 1-2 weeks, so order them as early as possible to avoid unwanted delays in administering the estate. It’s a good idea to 5-10 certified copies of the death certificate.

What if I’m named executor in the will?

The executor is responsible for carrying out the administration of the decedent’s estate. This includes initiating the proper probate proceeding, paying creditors, and distributing the decedent’s assets to the proper heirs. If you’ve been named executor, it’s generally advisable to obtain the services of a probate attorney to assist you with this process.

How much does probate cost?

The cost of probate typically depends on the size of the estate. Costs that will need to be paid include attorneys fees, court costs, and miscellaneous costs for services like appraisals and broker commissions. In most cases, these expenses can be paid out of the assets of the estate.

For set-asides, we charge a flat fee of $1,800.00, plus reimbursement for the court filing fee and other costs.

For summary administrations and general administrations, we charge a flat fee under the statutory formula set forth in NRS 150.060 for probate attorneys fees, which is based on a percentage of the estate’s value. This way, the estate doesn’t have to worry about unexpected hourly bills and can better anticipate the amount of attorney’s fees that will be paid at the end of the probate.

Should I keep paying the mortgage or car payment during probate?

It depends. If possible, it’s generally a good idea to keep paying these types of bills so that the property isn’t repossessed or foreclosed. But if money is tight, you might not have a choice. Here are some tips on what to do in this situation.

The bank gave me a form to fill out called an “affidavit of entitlement.” What is this?

The affidavit of entitlement is a legal form that allows you to claim property that belonged to the decedent. However, it can only be used if the decedent did not own real estate and if the total value of the decedent’s other property is less than $25,000. Here is some more information on the affidavit of entitlement in Nevada.

What type of probate proceeding will I need to use for my loved one’s estate?

In Nevada, there are different kinds of probate proceedings depending on the value of the decedent’s estate. Estates worth less than $25,000 and that do not own real estate can typically skip probate, but all others usually have to go through one form or another of the probate process. Here is a quick breakdown of the types of probate in Nevada.

How long does the probate process take in Nevada?

It usually depends on the size of the estate. Very small estates can go through probate as quickly as six weeks. Larger estates, including estates that include real estate, may take up to nine months or longer.

My loved one died with lots of medical bills and other debt. Who is responsible for paying them off?

Generally speaking, debts will be paid from the assets of the estate before anyone is given an inheritance. However, there is an important exception for surviving spouses and minor children that can result in the debts being wiped clean. Here is more information.

Do I need a lawyer for probate?

Not every estate going through probate needs a lawyer. Here’s an article to help you decide whether you need a probate lawyer.

How much does a probate lawyer usually cost?

The cost of hiring a probate lawyer will typically depend on the complexity of the estate. Some probate lawyers charge by the hour, but we charge a flat fee so that there are no surprises when it comes to the final bill. Here is a breakdown of our fees for probate administration.

I can’t afford a lawyer. What are my options?

There are a number of low-cost or free legal services for low-income families. Here’s a list for Reno, NV.

Get in Touch With a Reno Probate Attorney Today

The process of settling a loved one’s estate after their death can feel complex and overwhelming. Our Reno probate attorney can help ease your concerns and anxieties by explaining the probate process to you and then guiding you every step of the way. We make all court appearances, prepare all court pleadings and documents, and help with your other duties as personal representatives of the estate. We have one of the largest probate practices in Reno and have handled probates in almost every county in Nevada, including Washoe, Lyon, Storey, Churchill, Clark, Carson City, and Humboldt counties. Call today for help.